9 Customer Appreciation Events for Car Dealers

Retaining customers and attracting new ones can seem like a full-time job for many car dealerships. After all, there are plenty of places for local consumers to buy and service vehicles.

So how can you create loyal customers and bring in new business?

One proven way is to hold customer appreciation events. These events not only make consumers feel special but also showcase your dealership, products and services.

Customer appreciation events can help boost CSI scores, which should matter to every dealership, since the customer experience still reigns supreme.

Take a look at these nine ideas for creating car dealership events that current and potential customers will love!

1. Throw a Customer Appreciation Party

Everyone loves to feel appreciated, so extend that feeling to your valued customers with a customer appreciation party. Roll out the red carpet (figuratively or literally) and give customers the VIP treatment just for supporting your business.

You could create a VIP Event with invitations sent out to those on your customer list. Or, consider opening it up to all, with a focus on showing how you value everyone who shops, buys and services at your dealership.

How do you throw a great party at your dealership? There are many creative ways to make your customers feel appreciated, from providing premium drinks and hors d’oeuvres to party games where contestants can win prizes.

2. Help Customers Learn Something New

Consider holding workshops or events at your dealership where your team will teach attendees something new if you’re searching for new ways to show customer appreciation. For instance, a car care or detailing clinic your staff puts on could show customers how to keep their vehicles looking pristine between visits to your service center.

You could demonstrate the proper way to wash and wax a car and cover simple, affordable ways to maintain a clean vehicle interior. If your dealership offers detailing services, this could be a great way of increasing awareness of your services and attracting more business, too.

3. Host a Barbecue or Picnic

Who doesn’t love a good picnic or barbecue? Especially if it involves free food and drink! Picnics or food events create a fun and casual environment for your customers, where you can build relationships, make new friends and even increase customer loyalty.

Plus, by hosting a barbecue for customers who have previously purchased a car from your dealership, you’re not only showing your appreciation but also highlighting current vehicles on your lot.

4. Hold a Customer Appreciation Day Sale

If your dealership isn’t into parties and picnics, you can always show appreciation to your valued customers by simply offering a day where they can save big on their next vehicle or service visit.

As any car dealer knows, there are all sorts of customers, each with different views on dealership perks. Offering special discounts could mean the difference between repeat business and consumers looking elsewhere, especially for your most money-conscious customers.

5. Offer Test Drive Incentives

Whether you’re aiming to reward current customers or attract new business, a great way to do it is to offer a test drive promotion. Test drive incentives show car shoppers you appreciate them taking the time to visit your dealership to view new inventory and pre-owned inventory, alike.

Many automakers routinely offer test drive promotions, where potential car buyers can receive a gift card or prepaid card just for taking a test drive. If handing out free rewards makes your customers feel special and leads to more sales, it’s a win-win!

Of course, you don’t have to offer prepaid cards or gift cards. You could always create a game or sweepstakes where test drivers get a chance to win dealership discounts, merchandise or other prizes.

6. Host and Sponsor Local Events

Every car dealer knows that hosting or sponsoring events is a great way to increase awareness of their business within the community. Still, hosting local events can also be a way to show your appreciation to loyal customers.

Need some ideas? No matter what brands of vehicles you sell, there are likely local car clubs or car shows that would appreciate you sponsoring or supporting their events. You can even offer to host car shows and clubs on your dealership lot.

What if you want to branch outside of car-centric events? Well, there are numerous ways to show appreciation to customers and the greater community, from canned food donation drives to fundraising events for local schools and sports teams.

7. Offer Free Gallons of Gas

Your customers love a good deal, especially when it’s something different than what they can find elsewhere. Think outside the box and offer perks that you know every car buyer will use, like free gas! Instead of offering the usual cash discounts on certain cars, consider creating a free gas promotion.

Depending on current gas prices, you could offer a certain amount of free gallons of gas per vehicle purchase. This shows your customers you’re addressing their concerns about car ownership costs even after the dealership transaction.

8. Hold an After-Hours Sale

Another way to create an automotive customer appreciation or VIP event is to extend your usual business hours and offer exclusive sales and deals to visitors.

Holding a sales event on a weeknight or after hours on the weekend could help attract your customers who can’t visit during regular business hours. Not only are you providing them with special offers, but you’re showing you value their time while offering a fun and convenient shopping experience.

9. Offer Pick-Up and Drop-Off Promotions

During the COVID-19 pandemic, many car dealerships added complimentary perks like vehicle pick-up and drop-off services to support a safe shopping experience. The truth is, many motorists greatly appreciate these services, regardless of any public health situations.

If you’d like to show your customers that you value their time and continued business, think about providing limited drop-off and pick-up services for test drives, vehicle purchase delivery and maintenance and repair visits.

Want More Ideas? We’ve Got Them!

If you want even more ideas on customer appreciation events for car dealers, don’t hesitate to reach out to the fusionZONE team. Our DNA is pure dealer, so we understand what it takes to keep your current customers happy and attract new ones!

What is Google's MUM Search Technology

What is Google’s MUM, and How Will it Alter Search?

Google is developing a new artificial intelligence technology for search called Multitask Unified Model, or MUM for short. This innovative new tech from the search giant looks to revolutionize how users search for and find answers to complex questions that don’t have simple and direct answers.

But what exactly is MUM? And how does it work?

Like its other proprietary technologies, Google has kept mum on how its Multitask Unified Model works. Still, the company has released details about how this tech may help web users with more advanced search queries and questions.

Google says it developed MUM to help cut down on the number of searches a user will need to conduct to find a proper answer. So, instead of drilling down to find an answer by entering three or four consecutive searches, in the future, MUM may help you to find that answer with just one search.

MUM is built on the same system as Google’s BERT, released in 2019. MUM and BERT are Natural Language Processing (NLP) models that help Google understand language better to serve more relevant results. However, according to Google, MUM is 1000x more powerful than BERT!

What Else Do We Know About MUM?

Google classifies its Multitask Unified Model as AI technology. In this context, MUM is like a bigger, more powerful brain for the Google search engine.

What makes MUM so powerful? It’s Multilingual, Multitasking and Multimodal.

As its name implies, Google’s Multitask Unified Model is highly advanced at multitasking, which is why it could prove to be a game-changer in the world of search. It can understand and interpret multiple aspects of a question or search query, such as comparing two or more items and finding detailed answers.

At this time, it can understand 75 languages and accomplish many tasks at once, such as interpreting multiple inputs via text and images.

In the future, its multitasking capabilities will be expanded to audio and video as well, making MUM an all-in-one tool for understanding a multitude of complex inputs at once.

MUM’s multimodality means that it can absorb information from different sources and inputs. In other words, it can interpret how images and text relate to each other. For instance, this AI search technology could allow users to ask questions about photos or images and get detailed answers pulled from authoritative sources.

How Could MUM Affect SEO?

As with many Google products and updates, it’s too early to tell how its Multitask Unified Model will change the SEO landscape.

One possibility is that specific keywords will lose importance as more natural language and search queries take hold with the power of MUM.

If anything is for certain, it’s that digital marketers and businesses must continue to adapt their SEO strategy to Google’s search technologies, and MUM surely won’t be the last significant update.

Stay tuned to the fusionZONE blog for more industry insights and news. As always, feel free to reach out to our experts for assistance with optimizing your business’s digital presence.

fusionZONE Automotive CEO Ed Barton talks social media paid strategy and how to avoid being taken advantage of.

 

fusionZONE Automotive CEO Ed Barton explains how this one simple trick can drive traffic through your door and increase your sales, online presence and overall business.

 

fusionZONE Automotive CEO Ed Barton explains why using big words to sound smart could cost you to lose the sale!

 

 

CEO Ed Barton talks about what you can do to increase conversions and grow your business with a few simple Google My Business tricks.

 

Even as stay-at-home orders are lifting, the automotive world shifts to digital. However, there’s a limit to how much a piece of copy on your website can replicate talking directly to a sales rep.

Digital walkarounds have become more common as consumers grow more comfortable with large online purchases. Shoppers are looking for a vehicle on their lunch break more than they are stopping into the store.

A digital walkaround is when a rep uses a video conferencing tool to show a customer a vehicle in real time. This is different than a pre-recorded video (which are still great) as this is done live.

Being live is very important; it allows a customer to ask questions without having to wait for an email response or call-back. What could be a 3-hour process to get an answer is shrunk to a 3-minute phone call.

It also allows customers to compare how a car looks in real life to what they are imagining it would be. That’s important. Photos can only take you so far.

So, before you start scheduling 5 video calls a day, check out this handy guide we have put together for you. It’ll help you avoid embarrassing situations and help close customers who are remote.

Planning Your Calls

Before you start hosting video calls, you’ll need a plan. If you work the sales floor, you’re used to improvising. For digital walkarounds, you want to limit improvisation..

First things first, decide which platform you want to use to host your calls. There are a ton of free video-conferencing apps for your phone. Some of the most popular ones are:

  1. Zoom
  2. GoToMeeting
  3. Google Hangouts
  4. FaceTime (for Apple only!)
  5. Skype

It’s recommended that you have at least two options, so you have a backup if anything goes wrong.

Play around with your video hosting software to understand the basic features and where things are in the menu and how they work before you start scheduling calls. A customer doesn’t want to hear that “you just got this service and you are figuring it out.” Take 15 minutes beforehand and know how to:

  1. Start the call
  2. Record the call
  3. Flip between the camera facing you and away from you
  4. Share your current screen if needed

Second, do a test run with these apps with a coworker. Take turns running the call and being the “customer.” It’ll give you a great deal of insight to how the customer will view the call.

Finally, record your test calls and play it back. They’re great to have on hand for training the team or to reference later on.

Scheduling Your Calls

Next, ensure customers have a way to schedule these walkarounds on your site. Try to capture the following information:

  1. Name
  2. Phone/email
  3. Preferred Meeting Date
  4. Vehicles of Interest
  5. Features of Interest
  6. Preferred video-call app (if you’re using multiple)

It’s important that you don’t bury this page on your site. Add links from the homepage (desktop AND mobile), your inventory, and anywhere else it makes sense.

If a customer wants to check out multiple vehicles, it’s highly recommended parking them next to one another so that you can jump from one another. It’s not a great experience to be on the other end of someone walking from one end of the lot to the other. Be conscious of your customers time.

Running the Call

If you’re not as familiar with these kinds of calls, shoddy camerawork can lead to a bad experience for a customer. Don’t lose business because of that!

Follow these simple Do’s and Don’ts and you can’t go wrong:

DO

  • Move the camera at an even speed.
  • Use your hands to point at parts or features
  • Be friendly and personable
  • Keep the video-call portion under 5 minutes. You can follow up later or afterwards to discuss.
  • Keep your phone vertical. You don’t want the view to constantly be changing. Most phones have an option in their settings to lock this into place so the screen doesn’t shift as you move the camera.

DON’T

  • Put the camera too close to whatever you are trying to show. Instead, keep the view about a forearms length at all times from what you’re showing.
  • Record in a noisy area
  • Talk to others when you are on the call
  • Eat food on the call (gross)
  • Start the call when you are not near the vehicle

Other ways you can drastically improve the call experience is to call the customer beforehand and chat about what they want to see. It can cut a lot of the fat out of the video call as you (and the customer) will know exactly what to expect.

Following Up

After the call has wrapped up, it’s critical to quickly follow up. The most helpful items to include after a video call are the recording of the call, any info the customer needed (paperwork or links to the inventory), and a scheduled date to finalize the deal.

Dealers have been having a ton of success at making a lasting impression by video recording a personal “thank you” for stopping by. It will mean the world to a customer and it will only cost you 1 minute of your time.

That’s all for this week! If you have any stories about what is working or not working for you, drop a comment below.

We thank you for reading and hope you will check out future articles! If you have a topic you would like to know more about, feel free to suggest one in the comments below as well!